The CNN Freedom Project has announced the premiere of "The Fighters," a documentary on the groundbreaking work of one of the world's most renowned anti-trafficking organizations and the help its founder received in combating modern-day slavery from boxing champ, Filipino congressman and outspoken Christian Manny Pacquiao.
"The Fighters," airing for the first time this weekend on CNN International in a two-part series based on nearly two years of investigative reporting, provides an in-depth look at how Cecilia Flores-Oebanda and her Philippines-based anti-trafficking organization, the Visayan Forum Foundation, work unceasingly to get the message out that "Filipinos are not for sale." Joining her in the fight is the Philippines' own favorite son Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, boxing champ and congressman of the country's Sarangani province.
In a riveting and provocative pre-screening of "The Fighters" shared with The Christian Post, CNN's Leif Coorlim informs viewers that many of the Philippines' more than 90 million residents, who are predominantly Roman Catholic, suffer from extreme poverty. A need for survival drives many Filipinos overseas with the hope of finding employment. Traffickers, looking to stuff their own pockets, sometimes pose as employment agents and trick women and children into sexual and bonded slavery. more >>
The Japanese electronics company Nintendo has reportedly fixed a glitch in one of its life simulation games that allowed one male character to marry another male character and raise children together.
The highly popular 3DS game, "Tomodachi Collection: New Life," has reportedly been at the top of Japan's software charts for the past several weeks, and involves players having control over their characters, including the ability to design a character, feed it, dress it, and make it perform tasks.
Although the game's apparent glitch allows male characters to date and marry other men, it does not allow the same for women. more >>
The long-awaited trial of Singapore's popular pastor, Kong Hee of City Harvest Church, began on Wednesday, with a prosecutor stating that the church leader conspired with five others to misuse $41 million in church funds to help promote the career of his pop-star wife, Ho Yeow Sun.
"The evidence will show that the offenses were part of a deliberately planned, meticulously coordinated and carefully executed scheme," said prosecutor Mavis Chionh, according to Bloomberg.com.
Many from the City Harvest congregation queued up outside the Singapore court house at the start of the trial, the Associated Press reported, showing their support for the troubled pastor. The church and its affiliates are said to have a membership of more than 30,000, making it one of the biggest and richest worship groups in the region. more >>
Hong Kong will amend its city marriage laws after ruling Monday that a transgender woman may marry her boyfriend. Many are calling it the next step to legalizing same-sex marriage in the Asian city.
On Monday, four out of five judges in China's Court of Final Appeals accepted the appeal of appellant Ms. W, a 30-year-old transgender woman who, due to Chinese law, kept her name anonymous during the court proceedings.
Ms. W appealed the rulings of lower courts, which determined that she could not wed her boyfriend because her Hong Kong birth certificate identified her as a male and could not legally be changed. more >>
Singapore's Commissioner of Charities(COC) has given City Harvest Church Pastor Kong Hee and seven of his staff more time to submit official protests against a proposal to have them permanently removed from the ministry's board. The COC has also lifted its suspension of Kong's wife, Sun Ho, allowing her to resume her executive duties at the church. The news comes just two days before Kong heads to court to fight charges related to the mishandling of church funds.
In a statement shared with supporters on City Harvest Church's Facebook page and website Monday, Executive Pastor Aries Zulkarnain revealed, "This morning, Sun, wife of our senior pastor Kong Hee received a letter from the Commissioner of Charities. In the letter, COC informed Sun that the suspension of her status as an Executive member of City Harvest Church has been lifted. The suspension of her executive powers has also been lifted.
"Both suspensions have been lifted with immediate effect. Sun is once again able to exercise her executive powers for City Harvest Church. She is once again an Executive member of the church she co-founded." more >>
In a rare bipartisan move, Congressional leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner and Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, have urged the Obama administration to ensure protection of the persecuted family of blind Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng who fled to the U.S. last year.
Addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry, the letter states at least four ways the United States can tell the Chinese government that its treatment of Chen's extended family in eastern Shandong province is unacceptable.
"Chen Guangcheng and his family have suffered greatly at the hands of Chinese officials in Shandong Province," which reflects "a troubling trend of Chinese officials abusing, harassing, and intimidating the families of human rights activists in order to try to pressure these brave men and women into abandoning their important work," states the letter, according to Texas-based religious freedom group ChinaAid that is raising awareness of the plight of Chen's family. more >>